Though guest networks can slow down your internet in a few fringe cases, they typically don’t have any noticeable impact on a strong or fast connection.
I spent years working with different types of internet setups and have ample experience with a range of networks. My personal experience with those connections allowed me to understand how they work, as well as the way they are affected by guest networks.
The following article covers such networks in greater detail by looking at the way they work, how they impact a full connection, as well as why some users want to set them up.
- Guest networks are extra connections you can put on your personal network in order to allow internet access to other users without giving away your password or information.
- Additional networks can slow down certain connections, but that’s offset by modern equipment and fast internet plans.
- Guest networks are a great choice for users who want extra security or those who need to manage numerous people on their connection.
What is a Guest Network?
Though most users will never have or need a guest network, the connections are incredibly useful. They are, as the name suggests, a network that’s completely separate from the main WiFi that allows guests to access the internet.
In that way, they are for users who don’t want to share their home or business internet with every guest that hops on the network. They allow multiple people online while also limiting security risks. Not only that, but they’re simple to use, easy to set up, and don’t impact speed.
How a Guest Network Impacts WiFi
There are many reasons users choose to have (or to not have) a guest network. One of the biggest is that they believe it slows down their network. However, while that can be true in some cases, it’s not typically something you have to worry about.
Guest setups can slow down WiFi, but that’s completely dependent on your WiFi speed and how much bandwidth you’re allotting to the guest network. If you have fast internet and a strong connection, it’s not something you typically have to worry about.
An unused guest network will not slow your WiFi. If someone’s on the guest network, and the data it uses exceeds your network’s capability, it may eat into it. Even so, if you have a strong enough connection that should compensate for such issues.
Just be aware that if your guest is streaming or doing something that takes a lot of bandwidth, things might get a bit more tricky. You won’t necessarily always see a slowdown from that, but the more people do on a guest network, the more you need to compensate for it.
If you notice that you’re struggling with slow WiFi due to a guest network, you can always change the limits, upgrade your network, or increase bandwidth to make sure that won’t happen. You always want to shoot for something above 30 Mbps if possible.
How to Set Up a Guest Network
Once you understand that guest networks have a minimal effect on WiFi speed, you may want to set one up. If that’s the case, it’s a rather simple process that anyone can do. It just takes a few simple steps.
First, log in to your router’s web management panel and then look for the “guest network” option. That may also show up as “guest zone” or “guest access.” If you do not see or can’t find that choice, refer to the router’s manual to locate it.
If you see that the guest network option is disabled, enable it by checking the box. From there, set up the guest network’s parameters by putting in the name and password. You may also configure other security settings at this point as well.
Just be sure to uncheck boxes that state “allow guests to access my local network/settings,” as that will ensure they can only get on the guest network.
Should You Enable Guest WiFi?
Another question users may have is if they should enable a guest network or not. Though it differs from person to person, there are quite a few advantages to doing so. The biggest pro of guest WiFi is security.
If a guest signs onto your home network with an infected device, it can spread to your main connection. However, if they sign onto a guest network with such a device that may contain the spread and prevent your information from becoming compromised.
In that way, guest networks are a particularly useful way to use IoT devices like cameras and smart outlets too. Setting them up on a side connection limits their security vulnerabilities and, since their bandwidth usage is so low, they won’t eat into your main network.
It’s also a good choice to set up a guest network if you have a lot of different people who want to use our internet. Rather than having to constantly worry about people accessing your information, they are always kept at a safe distance.
These are some of the most common questions surrounding guest networks.
What is the Advantage of Having a Guest Network?
Guest networks are a great way to allow other users to access your WiFi without creating any security risks or opening up your main connection to external threats.
How to Know If My Router Supports Guest Networking?
Most new or modern routers support guest networks. If you have an old or low-end model, you may not have that feature. If you want to know, simply check the router’s manual or the manufacturer’s website.
Is a Guest Network a Security Risk?
While guest networks do open a few loopholes that can be exploited by more experienced hackers, most of the time they create a strong barrier between anyone using them and your main connection.
Guest networks are extremely useful tools for both security and functionality purposes. Just know that, if you want to have one or more, it’s a good idea to have a network that can back it up. If not, you may see some drops or slowdowns every now and then.
Do you have a guest network? Why did you create it and who typically uses it? Let us know below!